Shop Small Saturday boosts Iowa businesses

Today was Small Business Saturday, a busy and profitable day for local businesses across the country.
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 10:18 PM CST
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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - Sherry Brayton, owner of Right Frame of Mind in Mount Vernon, said Shop Small Saturday is the biggest day of the year for her store.

Shop Small Saturday was started by American Express. According to the company’s website, the corporation started the movement in 2010 in order to get people to spend money at local businesses after the Great Recession.

Brayton said, no matter the year, support from the community is necessary because owning a small business is incredibly difficult.

“I don’t even have an employee right now. So you know, if I want to take a vacation, I just have to close for a week. So yeah, it takes a lot of commitment,” Brayton said. “I rarely pay myself.” She added most of her profits go to paying off the building or refurbishing the apartment above the store.

Brayton estimated the months of November and December make up around 30% of her yearly income.

KC Wortman, owner of Thou Art in Anamosa, echoed Brayton when it came to the benefit of Shop Small Saturday.

“The credit card machine didn’t stop,” Wortman said.

Wortman added she thought customers were specifically out for the event.

“I heard a lot of women—somebody calling them and they’d be like, ‘Where are you?’ ‘Anamosa for Small Business Saturday.’ Yeah. So, people were out to shop and people were shopping for Christmas,” Wortman said.

She also agreed with Brayton that the support from the event was crucial given the difficulty of keeping a business going.

“There’s days, if I didn’t teach kids’ art classes, I wouldn’t have anybody in the door during the wintertime,” Wortman said. “So that’s why today was such a great day.“

Catherine Kennedy is the chairperson of the Shop Small Saturday Committee in Mount Vernon. She said the event doesn’t just help individual stores, but the character of small towns.

“It’s vital to keep these towns alive by keeping the businesses alive,” Kennedy said.

It was clear Saturday that support was key, but also any little bit counts.

“At the end of the day, it all adds up. So even if it’s just a card that walks out the door, it all adds up,” Brayton said.